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By Capt. Woody Gore

Many old timers remember just grabbing a cane pole, digging up some worms then heading to the lake or river to fish. However, in our materialistic world today, it does not seem that simple. Now we must decide on what fishing rods, reels, lures, tackle and for many, which boat buy or use. Once we’ve decided on everything else one of the single most confusing items left is which fishing line to use. After all, the line it is the most important link between you and the fish so it does deserve some consideration.

Let us start sometime around the turn of the century. In the early 1900’s a company named DuPont created a product called nylon. Originally fishing line was made from silk, cotton and wool, but things would soon change forever.

It all seemed to start with the invention something called nylon which would soon lead to what we know today as monofilament and fluorocarbon. Bulky, brittle and stiff in the beginning this new line was almost un-fishable. Then as with any new invention it underwent major improvements and emerged limper, stronger, and less brittle. Every year Monofilament fishing lines continue to evolve and are probably the most common fishing line used today.

Monofilament: Monofilament is a single-component by-product of crude oil that when melted and extruded through dies forms into a single strand fishing line. First-quality or premium monofilament fishing line is more abrasion resistant and expensive because it receives higher quality control, additional additives, and more attention in the finishing process. Probably the most notable thing about monofilament is that it effectively catches fish in just about every environment. Secondly, it is widely available being found in discount department stores to the highest-end tackle shop. Finally, and probably most important to the average angler, is the inexpensive cost as compared to Super line products.

These lines are available in many colors, strengths and diameters and while they are most popular fishing line they are far from being perfect. Monofilament is highly susceptible to heat, saltwater and exposure to the sun. Then if that was not enough monofilament absorbs water and has a memory. This means it retains its shape if stored for a long time. For example, line left on a reel for extensive periods has ruined more than one fishing trip. It is a thing called loops and coils, which often causes severe backlashes and makes the line almost impossible to cast. Whether you store your tackle for long periods or use it every couple of weeks, here is a tip that will help avoid loops and coils. As you leave the dock, remove everything tied to your line, then allow approximately 75 to 150 yards to feed out into the water, now before you reel it in, drag it behind the boat for 3 or 4 minutes. Doing this periodically allows the line to untwist and stretch removing about ninety-five percent of the loops and coils.

If you do not have a boat, tie one end to a stationary object and walk off about 75 to 100 yards. Now hold the spool or close the bail, then stretch the line, and hold it for about one minute, this will also remove the loops and coils. It is also a good idea to do this each time you spool new line especially if was new line was stored for a long time. For this reason, most seasoned anglers by spools with the amount of line required to spool each reel. Whether you fish once a week or every two months, it is a good idea to change your line yearly.

When choosing a monofilament fishing line there are some things to consider like abrasion resistance if fishing around structure, diameter in clear water, and stretch depending on what size fish you are after. Regardless of line characteristics, anglers around the world catch giant fish on light line. It all hinges on three things, equipment, quality and most importantly “drag settings”. You have heard this more than once “you get what you pay for” so choose your line carefully. Fluorocarbon: Seaguar, the world's #1 manufacturer of pure, ultra-premium fluorocarbon fishing products is a division of Kureha Chemical Co. that invented polyvinylidene flouride over twenty years ago. Although closely resembling monofilament in appearance that’s where the similarities end. Because it virtually disappears in water makes it the products biggest claim to fame. So, why does it disappear? It all has to do with the refractive index or degree to which light bends as it passes through a substance.

The index of fluorocarbon is 1.42, which is practically the same as water at 1.3; therefore, it becomes almost invisible. To differentiate monofilaments from fluorocarbon consider the following characteristics. The non-porous materials used in manufacturing prevent it from absorbing water thereby, making it stronger. Then various added materials make it more abrasion resistant and harder thus reducing stretch. As a final point, it is less susceptible to damage from sun and chemicals.

In the beginning, fluorocarbon excelled as a leader material for the reasons mentioned above. Anglers were excited at the prospect of using an invisible fishing line but soon found that because of its stiffness and high memory it was unmanageable in most applications. It took a little doing but Seaguar and a few others began developing scientifically superior formulas for fluorocarbon. While retaining their leader material advantages new lines where designed with built-in softness and flexibility making them exceptional as primary fishing lines. As with most, fluorocarbon used as a primary fishing line, it is limited to working strengths between 4 lb. to 20 lb. breaking strength. However, as leader it is available from 1 lb. to 550 lb. big game. Recently, Seaguar announced its next generation “Fluoro Premier™ and Fluoro Premier Big Game™”. Maintaining the same invisibility factor, knot strength and low memory, it’s still 20% stronger while maintaining the same diameters.

Now we get to another yet somewhat more advanced fishing line. Fused fishing line is finding its place and gradually growing in overall acceptance with anglers around the world. The most visible difference is just that, they are highly visible.

Braid: Finally, we get to the most technologically advanced fishing line since monofilament was invented and that is braid or commonly referred to as Super line. So, where did these super manmade materials originate? Invented by the DuPont Corporation in the early 1960’s Aramid® or more commonly known by DuPont’s trade name Kevlar® was a heat resistant fiber five times stronger than steel. A few years later in 1979 a multinational chemical company named DSM headquartered in the Netherlands invented Dyneema®. Dyneema® the next in a line super synthetic fibers was 15 times stronger than steel and three times stronger than Kevlar. Shortly after that, DSM granted a license to a United States company named Allied Signal to develop Spectra®. Spectra® is the brand name for Dyneema® the chemically identical product independently developed by Allied Signal (now Honeywell). Although the production details will undoubtedly be different, the results are almost identical to Dyneema®.

Today, practically all manufacturers use a fiber called Spectra® that continues to evolve from its original concept. Spectra® 900, Spectra® 1000, Spectra® 2000, is Honeywell’s premier ballistic fiber, stronger and lighter than most commercial high-modulus fibers and has one of the highest strength to weight ratios of any manmade fiber. Its high tenacity makes it pound-for-pound 10 times stronger than steel and excellent when providing super-fine, super-strong and ultra-lightweight fibers for armor, aerospace and high-performance sporting goods like fishing line. Each manufacturers own secret formulation that makes their line stronger, tougher, thinner, more flexible, or a combination of all four.

While it is not for everyone, many long time, die-hard monofilament users are switching over. It takes a little getting used to but for most applications, it is difficult to beat its superior qualities. Qualities like high strength, superior sensitivity, abrasion resistance, visibility, and absolutely zero stretch. Nevertheless, probably the most outstanding quality is the ability to make very long cast. These long cast are possible because of the strength to line diameter used in the manufacturing process. Let’s take Berkley Spiderwire or Seaguar’s new Kazen Braid line for example, both 15 lb. class lines are basically equivalent in diameter to 4 lb. monofilament. With this example, it is easy to see why your casting distance would increase dramatically.

Because of its small diameter in relation to hardness and abrasion resistance make sure; your tackle will handle this extra tough line. Manufactured to the highest specifications the new Super lines will work on practically all of today’s rods and reels.

In addition, here’s a simple word of caution about handling braided line. Anytime you handle braid always exercise care to avoid cuts or abrasions to your hands and fingers. Pulling on the braid with your hands or fingers without taking caution can cause cuts to your fingers. By its inherent nature it is extremely difficult to cut and most clippers used for monofilament will not work, so you will need a good pair of sharp scissors or knife to get the job done.

We have all heard or experienced that dreaded braided knot that magically appears when least expected. You first see it after a perfect cast, just dangling in the air about halfway to your bait.

Here is a tip on avoiding this time consuming tangle. Manufactured using the smallest diameter tolerances braided line is extremely lightweight. For this reason, itself it must be reeled under some kind of pressure to correctly seat on the spool. Because with any line, you want it tightly spooled, so keeping pressure applied during the retrieve allows the line wrap correctly onto your reel. Maintaining some kind of pressure on incoming line is essential or the line will loosely wrap itself over already loose line. Then when you cast, the line leaving the reel will grab and pull the loose line from underneath twisting it around the outgoing line.

When this happens, it is important to keep in mind that what you see in your line is a series of loops and coils. For the most part these are manageable until you haphazardly start pulling on the main or tag ends. Starting with the loops pull them lightly you will find the one that starts to unravel easily. Now, continue pulling lightly on the loops until they begin to separate untwisting the loops and lines as you go. It takes a little patience but with some practice, you will soon master it. Not being able to remove the tangle would be the worst case scenario, so just cut the line before and after the knot and re-tie using a double-uni knot. Now you are back to fishing. Here is the key to it all, keep some kind of resistance or pressure on incoming line.

Here is a good rule of thumb to avoid those braided line loops and coils especially, when using an open-face spinning reel. After each cast, always close the bail manually, make sure the line is in the line roller, then start to reel. Never start reeling to close the bail and take up slack. You must always manually close the bail, lift up on the rod tip to take up any slack and then reel. Doing this on every cast assures the line will position itself properly and begin tightly wrapping onto the spool. Each year manufacturers throughout the world generate millions of miles of fishing line in hundreds of styles, materials, colors and sizes. Therefore, it is no wonder anglers get confused about which line to buy.

So how do you make the right choice? The factors in choosing the right line are matching it to its intended use. Decide on the materials that best suit its use, either, monofilament, fluorocarbon, or braid. Now, giving extra consideration to the fish you will target, the water and environments you will be fishing. Consider its strength, size, stretch, abrasion resistance, and color by matching them to the application. The best rod and reel, sharpest hooks, top of the line boat are all great advantages to catching fish. However, the fact remains the only thing standing between you and success is your fishing line.

“Give Me a Call & Let’s Go Fishing” – 813-477-3814 Captain Woody Gore is the areas top outdoor fishing guide. Guiding and fishing the Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, Bradenton, and Sarasota areas for over fifty years; he offers world class fishing adventures and a lifetime of memories. Single or Multi-boat Group Charters are all the same. With years of organizational experience and access to the areas most experienced captains, Woody can arrange and coordinate any outing or tournament. Just tell him what you need and it’s done. Visit his website at: WWW.CAPTAINWOODYGORE.COM, send an email to [email protected] or give him a call at 813-477-3814.